Four factors of prospect promotions

How soon will Mike Trout be ready to crack the Angels' lineup? Kirby Lee/US Presswire

The best thing about being a baseball writer and the explosion of social networks is the ability to interact with readers. They have questions, I (hopefully) have answers, and in many ways they are paying the bills, so we all should be happy to provide them.

That said, there is one question that comes up more often that not that I just can't help with, and certainly requires more than a Facebook comment or 140 characters to explain. The question revolves around promotions, and tends to obviously focus on prospects that are playing well.

People want to know if Mike Trout can get to Anaheim this year, or how soon they'll see Julio Teheran in an Atlanta Braves uniform, and when will the Tampa Bay Rays bring back Desmond Jennings. Then there are the more granular questions about when hot pitchers like Shelby Miller of the St. Louis Cardinals or Matt Harvey of the New York Mets will move from the Florida State League to Double-A, and to follow-up, what is their big league time table?

When it comes to getting to the big leagues, the answer is simple, yet remarkably unsatisfying to deliver.

"I don't know."

The good news is, I usually have room for the second part of the answer, which helps soften the blow to my ego.

"And neither does the team."